Signals Indicate New Federal Transportation Bill Could Short CTA
Crain's Chicago Business
July 8, 2011
By Paul Merrion
Cuts in federal transit funding for Chicago are looming in the long-awaited transportation bill outlined by House GOP leaders Thursday.
Aside from the overall six-year funding level of $230 billion, which Democrats such as Rep. Dan Lipinski of Chicago blasted for falling far short of the amount needed to maintain infrastructure, the Chicago Transit Authority and other urban transit programs appear to be in for a disproportionately big hit.
“Today, we are looking at a bill that would provide only $230 billion in federal investment over six years,” Mr. Lipinski said in a statement. “This represents at least a 30% cut in what we need simply to maintain existing programs. A reduction of this magnitude would clearly have serious consequences for Illinois and the nation.”
While the text of the bill has not yet been released, a summary authored by House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman John Mica, R-Fla., said that rural and suburban areas would get a greater percentage of the money set aside for transit.
That implies less money for the CTA, but how much less won’t be known until the language of the bill is released sometime before next week’s vote in committee.
On the other hand, the bill could be a plus for the region if it boosts funding for the suburban Pace bus system.
“It would be good to see a robust bill,” a CTA spokeswoman said in an email. “But as we haven't had time to review the bill, it is difficult to comment on the impacts it might have on the CTA.”
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